Must a Land Contract Be Terminated if the Buyer Defaults?

A filed Land Contract where the Buyer has defaulted and moved out should be terminated so that there are no clouds on the title to the real estate should the property be sold in the future.

The method of terminating a Land Contract varies from state to state; there is not one process or procedure that can be described here.

In some states, filing the judgment of eviction may be sufficient to provide notice that the Land Contract is terminated.

In other states, a more formal notice procedure may be required per state statute.

All states will have a procedure or process available to the Vendor (Seller) in a Land Contract where the Vendor can terminate or cause the termination of the land contract without the consent of the Vendee (Buyer). Reason being, it is usually a challenging task for a Vendor to convince a defaulting Vendee to willingly sign a document agreeing to terminate his/her interest in a Land Contract.

The without-consent procedure can be as simple as filing a document with the recorder, or more complicated such as having to file a forfeiture lawsuit to terminate the Vendee’s interest in the contract and retain possession of the property.

To check your state’s code or statutes to determine the proper method for terminating the land contract, search Google for ‘[STATE NAME] requirement for terminating a Land Contract’.